Talk:Poupée de cire, poupée de son

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"Wax Doll, Sawdust Doll" is a possible translation, however, "Wax Doll, Singing Doll" is the one used most often. This could be open to discussion though. --Bearbear 16:27, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

In my view, all this talk of poupée de son meaning "singing doll" is overblown and far-fetched thrashing around by English-speakers who, before this song, has never heard of any other French son word than the one meaning "sound".
There is absolutely no evidence that the phrase poupée de son has ever been used by French-speakers to mean the kind of doll made to "talk" by the operation of a string-pull.
There is, however, ample evidence that dolls stuffed with bran or sawdust (called "bran" in this case because it looks like bran) have long been called... "poupées de son". See the Littré Dictionary entry for Son in this sense:
Sciure servant à remplir des poupées ("Sawdust used as a stuffing for dolls").
In the song itself there are references to poupées de cire (wax dolls), poupées de son (stuffed dolls), poupées de chiffon (rag dolls). These are all of a piece: the idea is simply "So far I've just been a plaything, not yet a real person"; nothing to do with the recently invented Mattel talking dolls of the 1960s! -- Picapica 15:34, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
You're the only person who has managed to sway me with that idea! I never went too deep into the song, and the French lyrics (yes, "son" is only known to me as sound (well, and his/her/etc)!) but now I can see that this translation does make much more sense. It's probably a good idea to add that to the article in a section about the translation. Any thoughts?
It's on my "to do" list. I'll add some of the above info, probably in the form of a note about the title, very shortly. See what you think. --Picapica 13:39, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
Now done. --Picapica 09:46, 10 September 2006 (UTC)
Do you have a reference for this being misinterpreted to mean an actual singing doll i.e. the pull-string dolls you refer to? In the absence of one, I'm inclined to believe 'singing doll' has not been intended to refer to this. But if you've seen this theory explicitly outlined, I'd change my mind. I agree that the 'bran' meaning of 'son' is not taken into consideration when translating the title or in discussions of the song (though I lack a reference). But as far as I understand, the use of 'singing' has not literally meant a doll that sings, but an ease-of-use translation for what would otherwise be translated (with the other meaning of 'son' discarded) as the nonsensical 'doll of sound'.
It could be argued that 'bran' is not misunderstood, but since the word has a double meaning, a translation into English means having to choose one meaning and 'sound' may deliberately be chosen to go with the theme of the song (and then, as I just mentioned, changed to 'singing' to make it something that it would be said in English). The point about being a 'plaything' is exactly what I've understood 'singing doll' to mean, and I doubt I'm alone. 'Doll' can also be an informal term for a young woman - especially in the past - with a patronising ring to it. So 'singing doll' can conjure that up as readily as - or more - than the idea of a literal singing toy.
(I've also seen it translated as 'Wax doll, rag doll' by the way, and while rags are obviously a different material to bran, this is probably the closest expression in English to 'Bran doll'. It's often used to mean someone without backbone or a mind of their own.)
My question is what this passage is based on. English discussions/writings on this song where a theory of a singing toy doll is described? Or an assumption of the meaning behind what is a best-fit and inevitably imperfect English title? If only an analysis of what's seen as an inadequate title translation, then I think my above arguments stand. If referring to discussions displaying a disregard for this meaning, then a citation is needed.
"Frequently been misunderstood" is problematic without a reference. And I'd say statements like this are weasel word territory. This should probably be rewritten to say "the English translation of the songtitle is usually 'Wax Doll, Singing Doll'", or something similar, and then go on to say why it's an incomplete understanding.
"especially by English-speakers" is also without a reference. Is there any evidence English speakers have misunderstood the meaning more than other non-French speakers? If so, is it relevant if we're particularly talking about the translation into English here? There's a slightly emotive tone that comes through as well that I think some rewriting could dampen down a little. I think the emphasis needs to be less on the idea that it's misunderstood, and more on the idea that some of the meaning is inevitably lost in the English translation. I think the whole section needs some rephrasing. -Spikedcandy 11:07, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Regardless of any cultural usages of the phrase "poupée de son", let's all bear in mind that the song does make a lot of reference to singing, voices and so on in the lyrics. I'm not saying that we need to change the translation, just that it seems a bit odd to discard what the song itself is saying at various points. BigHaz - Schreit mich an 00:06, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

I'm glad this point was made, because it could just as easily be argued that only translating this part of the title as 'Bran Doll' excludes the other meaning of 'son' and obscures that the song is about a singer who is simply a mouthpiece for songs. The 'doll' part adequately conveys that sentiment. 'Bran doll' is meaningless in common English, and wouldn't get that across. 'Doll of sound' doesn't quite make sense in English either, so 'singing doll' ends up the best fit. -Spikedcandy 11:24, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Clean-up needed[edit]

I'm seeing several examples of weasel words (e.g. "entirely different") and uncited material. I'll clean up the ones I find, but if you see any outstanding examples, please either fix them or add clean up tags.

As a general note, I want to mention I'm finding many of the wiki entries on French 60s pop in English are in need of pretty drastic cleaning up. Anyone contributing, please remember to only add things you've come across from a reliable source, and not opinions or observations. Of course, these are the basic rules/guidelines on Wiki, but I feel the need to make a special plea since I'm finding there to be an unusually large amount of non-Wiki compliant material in just one body of related articles. There's not a lot of info in English on this music/era, so it's a shame when some of the only info put out there is full of errors and hearsay. At the very least, please add clean-up tags to any inadequate articles so readers can be notified they're not reading a reliable article.-Spikedcandy 11:42, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

"On one level, Gall sings about simply being the conduit for Gainsbourg's lyrics. On another, Gainsbourg himself is on record as explaining that the song is about the difficulties faced by young people in understanding love, when love songs are themselves sung by people too young to appreciate it." This needs rewriting. The ideas don't express different levels of meaning, but are in fact quite similar. I'd guess terms like "on one level" are best avoided in this context, too.-Spikedcandy 11:52, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

I made several changes, some of them substantial, to try to address these problems. It's not perfect by any means but I think it is moving in a more productive direction. For instance instead of focusing on controversy over translating the title I changed the whole section to focus on double meanings and wordplay in the lyrics. That seems a more productive direction. However I don't have any more sources than those available online so there is still much room for improvement and citing of a wider variety of and/or more reliable sources. Bhugh 03:54, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Also I removed the originalresearch|article and unreliable|article because I don't believe they apply any more (not that better and more sources couldn't/shouldn't be found, but at least it has some sources and is more objective and factual in tone than it was before). However feel free to put the tags back if you still feel they are warranted.Bhugh 04:06, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

I've only had a quick skim, but it seems like a significant improvement. You've done an excellent job of reworking some of the info already there into something more relevant and neutral. So far, I agree the tags don't need to be there anymore. -Spikedcandy 02:23, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Changes made, more needed[edit]

  • 'Non-ballad' is not a word; I rewrote this sentence. Actually, I thought on the Congratulations special, they said it was new for such an uptempo song to be entered at all, not just win. They mentioned that this had a lasting influence on the types of songs that were subsequently added. I didn't add this because of not having the reference, but if someone, this could be a good point to add.
  • Moved the sentence about the Les Sans Culottes cover from the second paragraph to the 'Covers' section. Though this needs to be improved - there are headings for covers in other languages, and covers. Should they be under one heading or the subheadings changed?
  • Reference is needed for Gainsbourg's explanation. I've read this quote somewhere too, but can't find it. And I'd like to be sure that's true to exactly what he said. I'm for deleting that section for now, as well as overhauling the enter 'Translation' section.
Forgot to sign above - that was me. And just to clarify, the 'non-ballad' sentence wasn't too bad, but I thought "first non-ballad" was a slightly clunky way of saying a ballad hadn't won before. "First non-(something)" seems incorrect somehow; defining an achievement by a negative. It would probably pass if the "non-(something)" word was itself a defined, common term, but simply adding non in front of a noun seems a bit colloquial, hence why I said "non-ballad is not a word". - Spikedcandy 09:56, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

I've changed 'rosy-tinted glasses' to the more common 'rose-tinted glasses'. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:48, 2 October 2010 (UTC)


Are the lyrics really "pour un oui, pour un nom"? Is this confirmed? To me it sounds and looks definitely like "pour un oui, pour un non". Nieske 12:58, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

I don't know that this is confirmed. Just a quick google search shows about equal proportions of "nom" and "non" versions of the lyrics online. I can't find any lyrics version online that is more of a primary source than any other (in fact they all strike me as being copies of something else). French pronunciation experts, is there any difference at all between the pronunciation of "non" and "nom"? My impression (as a non-French speaker) is there is no difference at all or the difference is very subtle. Bhugh 03:18, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
There is no difference in pronunciation between these words. French doesn't have any syllable final nasal consonants, only vowels! 'Mon propre role' has 'pour un nom' but 'l'integrale et caetera' has 'pour un non,' so even 'official sources disagree, though since 'mon propre role' was supposedly looked over by Gainsbourg I'd say 'pour un nom' is pretty much official. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:55, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Strictly speaking this isn't true of the standard dialect of French spoken in Paris, ie bon/bonne where bonne ends with /n/. But even in Paris no difference is made between `non' and `nom'. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:52, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

What about 'cheveux blonds/blancs' as another (homophonic) double-entendre? It could be construed as a pun on age. I haven't inserted the point, but it seems to me likely that it was intentional. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:47, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

This is not really homophonic, as to a French person ″blonds″ /blɔ̃/ sounds differently than ″blancs″ /blɑ̃/. (talk) 08:41, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

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